South Korea's RMB payments value increased by 563% between June 2013 and June 2014, making South Korea number eight in the world for RMB payments value, excluding China and Hong Kong, SWIFT's RMB Tracker shows.
"We have been monitoring the use of the RMB in South Korea for a while, observing its fast growth over the past two years, particularly as more banks and businesses are using the RMB in international transactions," says Michael Moon, Head of Payments, Asia Pacific.
In June 2014, 68.9% of all direct payments between South Korea and China/Hong Kong were in RMB, up from 32.8% in June 2013.
Moon notes that South Korea's RMB payments growth is increasingly driven by customer payments, which are a good proxy for trade settlement.
The announcement by South Korea and China in early July about setting up a new RMB clearing center in Seoul will further benefit the trading activities between the two countries.
The agreement establishes South Korea as an important offshore RMB clearing centre in North Asia.
Overall, the RMB reinforced its position as the seventh most active currency for global payments and accounted for 1.55% of payments worldwide.
RMB payments increased in value by 7.1% in June 2014, while at a global level, all currencies increased in value by only 1.4% during the same period.